Andhra political parties are preparing for moving the no-confidence motion against the Narendra Modi government. More than irking the NDA government both the ruling and opposition parties in Andhra Pradesh are competing to capitalise on the public sentiment for special category status. Both the Telugu Desam Party and YSR Congress have their own reasons to play politics with the public sentiment.
It all began with the film star and the chief of Jana Sena party who in 2014 campaigned for the TDP-BJP combine without contesting the elections, calling upon the political parties in the state to move the no-confidence motion against the Modi government for not keeping its promises to the people of Andhra Pradesh.
The YSR Congress chief was quick to respond. In a bid to corner Pawan Kalyan who is considered to be still close to TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu, YS Jaganmohan Reddy said that his party is ready to move the no-confidence motion in the last week of budget session and asked Kalyan to ensure the support of the TDP for the same. Jaganmohan even offered to extend support to the TDP if it takes an initiative to move the no-confidence motion against the Modi government.
Kalyan immediately agreed to the challenge posed by Jaganmohan and even offered to procure the support of MPs of other parties too. However, Chandrababu Naidu said that moving the no-confidence motion is the last resort and his party would not hesitate to do so if the demands of the state are not met. Thus, the politics of Andhra Pradesh are revolving around the no-confidence motion.
Quite interestingly, Jaganmohan who in the recent past extended unconditional support to BJP-led NDA in the presidential and vice-presidential elections is now talking about lack of confidence in the NDA government. The YSR Congress never focussed its tirade on BJP and instead continued to target TDP and the chief minister in person for the failure to get what is due from the Centre. Jaganmohan who had displayed so much confidence in the leadership of the prime minister that too in crucial elections could conveniently change his tone and tenor. The idea is not to cause any major embarrassment to the BJP but it is a clever bid to corner the TDP as it is a part of NDA. Jaganmohan's single point agenda seems to be ensuring the split in BJP-TDP alliance. Even today he does not categorically state that his party will not have any alliance with BJP before or after 2019 elections.
Anyhow, the no-confidence motion cannot in any way cause any embarrassment to Modi-led NDA government which enjoys more than a comfortable majority. But, it would give an opportunity for different political parties to express their stand on how far the promises of bifurcation and the provisions of the act were implemented.
Jaganmohan is emphasising on the special category status to Andhra Pradesh as promised by the then prime minister Manmohan Singh in Parliament. Here again, the politics come into play. In fact, the BJP was the author of the special status. The UPA regime agreed to a five-year special status to the residuary state of Andhra Pradesh only after the BJP vociferously demanded it. Especially, present Vice-President, M Venkaiah Naidu and present Finance Minister Arun Jaitley were instrumental in making the then prime minister announce it in Parliament. The BJP and the TDP have promised special status for 15 years during the 2014 elections.
But, now, the BJP-led NDA government is reneging on this promises quoting the 14th Finance Commission. In view of the changed devolution formula, the concept of special category status became redundant, said the 14th Finance Commission report.
The YSR Congress instead of targeting the BJP for not fulfilling its own promises of according special status uses the issue to hit at TDP chief. Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has become vulnerable as he not only endorsed the Centre's proposal to offer special package in lieu of special status but has even praised the former. The YSR Congress is now all set to use the no-confidence motion to press for special status thus compelling Chandrababu Naidu to once again demand special status. But, the TDP lost its moral high ground as it avidly accepted a special package.
The YSR Congress has nothing to lose by moving the no-confidence motion in Lok Sabha. But, Chandrababu Naidu can do it only after deciding to come out of NDA, a decision which he is yet to make. Jaganmohan is also capitalising on Chandrababu Naidu's dilemma by planning to move the no-confidence motion before TDP takes a call.
However, the intriguing point is that the YSR Congress chief for no worthwhile reason to explain said that he would move the motion in the last week of the budget session knowing fully well that such an attempt may not be so useful in the last days of the session. YSR Congress critics interpret this as an attempt to prevent any embarrassment to Modi but accomplish the objective of putting Chandrababu Naidu in a dock.
Though the Congress has no representation in Lok Sabha from the state, the pressure is mounting on the party leadership to join this no-confidence bandwagon.
Thus the two warring parties, the TDP and the YSR Congress want to strike at each other but not wound BJP at this point in time. But, the politics around no-confidence inevitably challenge the BJP. The state unit is already on the offensive. If this politics of no-confidence crosses the Andhra coast to reach Delhi, the TDP may find it difficult to sail with the BJP and the YSR Congress may also find it equally difficult to have any electoral understanding with the BJP at least in the pre-election phase.
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Updated Date: Feb 23, 2018 21:11 PM